Featured Skater: Locked & Loaded #009

Photo by Brie Eloise

Graphic designer by day, stellar jammer by night.  This is one skater that makes an impact both on and off the track.  Meet #009, Locked & Loaded!

Loaded’s derby journey started with the Nickel City Renegades in 2015, where she played for nine years until the league folded.  After taking a year off, Loaded joined QCRD in 2023 where she was quickly drafted as a jammer by the Alley Kats for the 2024 season.  Just recently, she earned a spot on the Subzero Sirens, our B travel team.  When not skating, Loaded is an amazing artist who loves to stay active off the track as well.

Where are you from?

I am from Poughkeepsie, NY.  It’s about an hour and a half north of New York City on the other side of New York State.

What is your day job?

I am a graphic designer, full-time, but I also do freelance design, photography, and illustration as my own business as well.  

Photo by Rene T. Van Ee

How did you get involved in derby?

I’ve been doing sports FOREVER!  I did field hockey in high school and track and field and I also did track and field through college and for a few years after I graduated from college.  After that was done, I was like “I need to do something, I’m going crazy!”  I actually saw a QCRD game up in Rainbow forever ago when we were still playing up there, but I didn’t actually start derby until a few years after that.  I went to a Renegade game on my birthday weekend and I liked it so much that I showed up to practice the next week!

 

What is the significance of your derby name and number?

I was thinking of a few different names when I first started, but Locked & Loaded is mostly because of my hair because I have dreadlocks.  Also, I always called my arms my “guns,” so also related to that being “loaded.”  My number for Renegades was 9MM because of the locked and loaded, 9MM made sense.  When I switched to WFTDA, you can’t have special characters or anything, so 009 without the point in front is the same as 9MM so it made sense. 

Photo by Chuck Gay

What are some of your hobbies outside of derby?

So I do a lot of art obviously.  In the wintertime, I tend to do more indoorsy things like drawing and reading.  I binge watch a lot of true crime (true crime is kind of my thing).  And then as the weather gets nicer, more outdoorsy activities like hiking, biking, kayaking, and obviously skating outside. 

You are a graphic designer and create lots of art.  What inspires you when you make new artwork?  What are some things that influence your art style?

I’m just kind of the person that needs to create, so not creating isn’t really an option.  It comes very naturally to me and when I’m not able to make things I get very frustrated.  I’m kind of inspired by a lot of things, but mostly urban art and graffiti art, also comic books and cartoons because I’m a nerd.  

Before transferring to QCRD, you were part of the Nickel City Renegades.  What was that experience like?  

Renegades was AMAZING, I miss it a lot!  I started with Renegade and I started from nothing, like “baby giraffe in headlights,” that was me when I first started.  They taught from the ground up and the only thing that got me through when I first started was because I was so athletic, it kind of made up for the lack of skills because I was horrible.  They were my family, I loved it, and played for nine years so I feel like you don’t do something for nine years unless you like it.  I still call the girls that I talked to my family and we have family dinners.  Obviously a lot of them are on QCRD now and they’re a lot of the reason why I decided to come because they had such good things to say about it.

What was the transition from Renegades to WFTDA derby gameplay like?  What was easy and/or challenging?

I’m still kind of learning to transition, still trying to figure out how my style of skating works for WFTDA.  Beyond just learning the rules which is an ongoing thing, it’s also figuring out how my jamming has to change from Renegades to WFTDA to be more effective.  A big part of that is when I played Renegade I played completely blind, I didn’t wear glasses or anything.  I was just kind of feeling my way around which worked for that, but it doesn’t necessarily work here when you have to be aware of what’s happening all around the track at all times even when you’re jamming, so that’s something that I’m still kind of working on.  I think the easiest part was that I already had the skills and already knew how to skate.  I’m a fairly athletic person so it’s not like I had to relearn that, it’s mostly the change in strategy and gameplay specifically, it helped having Renegades here to explain things in terms that I understood, like having an interpreter.

Photo by Rene T. Van Ee

What is your favorite thing about jamming?

I just like the challenge of it!  It’s hard and it’s challenging.  It can be frustrating at times, but I think as frustrating as it is, it’s equally rewarding.  I think there’s kind of a euphoric feeling of getting through the pack and like Yes, I did it! And even though you’re like that sucks but like, that was good, you’ve just gotta keep going like do it again, did it once, do it again, and I like the challenge of jamming and it’s something that a lot of people can’t do and also don’t want to do.  I’m like, I’ll do it!

 

Who is your favorite skater and why? 

My favorite skater is my coach, Psyko Kupkake [former Renegades skater].  She’s the one who started the Renegade team here in New York.  She moved here from California and there’s a bunch of Renegade teams out there.  We were the first East Coast team, so she’s obviously the one who taught me everything about skating and derby.  She was amazing to play with on the track and also an amazing person off the track.  Very caring and generous (she actually convinced me to play in my first WFTDA rules tournament a few years ago). She has a tough exterior but is a very sweet lady!

Photo by Rene T. Van Ee

Do you have any goals for yourself this season?

This season, it’s mostly just being patient with myself.  Deprogramming nine years of Renegade is going to take awhile and I have to keep telling myself you’re not just going to flip a switch and automatically play WFTDA, so I have to be patient with myself and remind myself that this is a process.  It’s going to take a bit.  It might not be one season and like You’re good, so right now I’m focusing on transitioning and figuring out what my strengths are and also what I need to work on.

Do you have any advice for new skaters?

For new skaters, my advice is obviously listening to what your teammates are saying, but not comparing yourself with your teammates.  This is something even I still struggle with, looking around and seeing how amazing other people are, it can be very frustrating to be like “Oh my God, they’re so good and I suck,” but I think a lot of that just comes with time and work, and it takes work and time.  Something I need to remind myself:  that it takes time!

– Interview by Thrash Bandicoot